Principles of Good Practice: Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age

View this PGP as a PDF file.

Preamble: The following principles provide common ground for interaction between independent school professionals and their many constituents (parents, students, colleagues at other schools, and the public). The NAIS Principles of Good Practice for member schools define high standards and ethical behavior in key areas of school operations to guide schools in becoming the best education communities they can be, to embed the expectation of professionalism, and to further our sector’s core values of transparency, excellence, and inclusivity. Accordingly, membership in NAIS is contingent upon agreement to abide by the spirit of the PGPs.

Overview: Digital technologies provide increasingly powerful tools and offer a variety of educational opportunities that can improve teaching and learning. These principles offer crucial guidelines for administrators, teachers, and technology staff in planning and managing the role of technology in independent schools.

Principles of Good Practice: Leadership

  1. The school regularly evaluates its use of technology to support its mission, goals, and program.
  2. School leadership incorporates technology considerations into strategic planning and creates a sustainable financial model for its technology commitments.
  3. The school’s technology leader is a member of one of the school leadership teams and has the training, authority, and support needed to influence key areas of policy development, decision making, budget, and management.
  4. The school ensures that faculty, staff, and students have equitable access to the technologies they need to support the school’s mission, goals, and program.
  5. The school recognizes that any innovative teaching and learning exploration, including technology innovation, often requires significant support for faculty professional development and flexibility in schedule and program.
  6. School leadership establishes school-wide expectations and provides ongoing professional development regarding the integration of educational technology into the school curriculum.
  7. School leadership, academic leadership, and technology leadership work together to ensure the development, implementation, and evaluation of technology at the school.
  8. School leadership regularly investigates and evaluates how emerging technologies impact, or may impact, the sustainability of their academic and financial models.

Teaching and Learning

  1. Educators research, evaluate, and employ technology as befits their mission and philosophy to provide differentiated personalized instruction and to achieve curricular goals.
  2. Educators understand that content is readily available with technology and design environments to transform the relationship between teacher and learner, engaging students in higher-order thinking skills, creation of content, and critical thinking.
  3. Educators embrace technologies that promote a culture of participatory and collaborative approaches to learning (such as inquiry-based, student-centered, flipped classroom, and project and problem-based learning).
  4. Educators model and empower learners to effectively practice media and information literacies inside and outside the classroom as content creators and consumers.
  5. Educators promote networking opportunities for their students and teachers to collaborate locally and globally.
  6. Educators evaluate opportunities to leverage online and/or hybrid learning environments and implement them when they enhance student learning.
  7. Educators explore technology-enriched and adaptive formative assessments for sophisticated and customized skills evaluation that reveal growth over time and that inspire intrinsic motivation to improve learning.

Professional Growth and Learning

  1. The school recognizes a critical factor in technology integration is the teacher’s sustained professional growth by creating a culture of continuous growth and adequate support for innovation and learning.
  2. School leadership encourages educators to seek out opportunities to build learning networks and to explore and evaluate digital tools.
  3. The school includes technology integration as an essential component of its professional development, provides the necessary time and resources for it, and ensures that educators acquire and demonstrate essential technology skills and proficiencies.
  4. Teachers’ use of technology for teaching and learning is included in the school’s teacher evaluation process, as appropriate for the school’s mission and philosophy.

Infrastructure and Administrative Operations

  1. The school uses technology to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of administrative operations.
  2. The school provides adequate staffing and infrastructure appropriate for its size and operation.
  3. The school maintains, protects, reviews, and enhances its technological resources (data, network, software, and hardware) each year.
  4. The school provides timely support for digital resources and the people who use them.
  5. The school establishes renewal plans, replacement cycles, and disposal plans for technology equipment.

Digital Ethics

  1. The school engages in ethical business practices in its digital technology initiatives, including considering the public purpose opportunities of online course offerings that extend beyond its own school community.
  2. The school adheres to the NAIS Principles of Good Practice for Admissions in its online courses and “in establishing policies, procedures, and goals for student recruitment and enrollment, the school makes inclusivity a central tenet, while also complying with local, state, and federal laws.”
  3. The school operates under a clear set of practices/guidelines for maintaining privacy, confidentiality, and security in its use of digital technology.
  4. The school develops a responsible-use policy that is framed in the positive, flexible enough to accommodate changes in technology, and frequently reviewed.
  5. Educators teach, model, and expect safe, healthy, ethical, legal, and responsible use of digital resources and social media by students and parents.
  6. The school develops a policy regarding faculty and student interactions on social media sites.
  7. The school provides up-to-date information on fair use, copyright, and Creative Commons information and requires compliance by faculty, staff, and students.
  8. The school establishes a curriculum-based digital citizenship/digital responsibility program that includes ongoing discussions of online behavior, cyberbullying, and respectful and legal use of online tools.
  9. The school stays current on issues, events, and concerns related to online behavior and digital citizenship and informs faculty, students, and parents when appropriate.

Download a PDF of the complete set of NAIS Principles of Good Practice.